ALBUM REVIEW: Nicks' hip return

Stevie Nicks Street Angel 1994
(Stevie Nicks’ fifth solo album, Street Angel)

STREET ANGEL
Stevie Nicks
Modern/Atlantic Records

Stevie Nicks has been in rock so long, she’s due for a kitschy comeback of backhanded hipness. With all the ethereal females fronting rock bands these days, the woman behind the twirling veils with Fleetwood Mac must be something of a spiritual godmother. Sandra Bernhard did a famous routine involving a Stevie fantasy. Even currently hot chanteuse Tori Amos closes her shows with a cover by Nicks instead of Nirvana. Hey, even platform shoes are back.

All of this may make Street Angel, Nicks’ first solo album in six years, more welcome than her work has been in some time.

Who’s to deny, for example, the opening “Blue Denim” — rocking, simple with her pinched voice lending authority? And what a band she amasses here — Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, L.A. session leaders Bernie Leadon and Waddy Wachtel, Kenny Aronoff on drums, David Crosby singing harmonies and Roy Bittan playing piano. Even Bob Dylan is persuaded to lend almost inaudible guitar and harmonica on Nicks’ loopy treatment of “Just Like a Woman” (which changes from first to third person at will).

Some of these things, of course, are messes — a wrongheaded disco beat to “Greta,” a revival of a song she wrote in 1965 (that’s not so far removed from a lot of these lyrics). [Editor’s note: The writer is confusing “Greta” with another song on the album, “Rose Garden,” which Nicks wrote in 1965].

Yet throughout, you’re pulling for her, making her local live show (Friday at Great Woods in Mansfield, Mass.) sound interesting at least.

Roger Catlin / Hartford Courant / July 21, 1994

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